I am not a Catholic, and if you asked any of my teachers at Kennedy High School, I was very much against the idea of religion. I was a senior...

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I am not a Catholic, and if you asked any of my teachers at Kennedy High School, I was very much against the idea of religion. I was a senior when Gloria was diagnosed with cancer. To me, cancer was just something that happened, and there was nothing anyone could do to stop it.

I was sitting in Mrs. Ellis’ math class taking notes when the door opened. This small girl walked through.

It was apparent she was wearing a wig. Mrs. Ellis stopped talking and said loudly, “Good afternoon, Gloria!”

This was my first experience looking at someone with cancer. I just watched her. It was hard not to. I remember it very vividly. She stopped walking in front of me as her father went to talk to Mrs. Ellis, and she looked at me. She smiled at me.

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I smiled back, all the time wanting to cry. I cried when I got to my car after school. I sat there, and I cried and I prayed.

I still don’t go to church, but I have come into my own when it comes to faith.

I do pray that Gloria will get better, or if anything, that God releases her suffering. It is the same as I pray for my boyfriend’s mother, who is battling her own cancer.

Even when I talk to him about his mother, it is the same upbeat attitude of, “What will happen will happen. Just pray.”

— Nicole Rae

It hit me where it counts when Gloria talked about how she loved to dance and sing and act. I’m an actress currently living in New York City pursuing a career in theater. Recently, I was back in Seattle working on a reading of a new musical, while also choreographing “The Music Man” for the Burien Hi-Liners, a performing-arts group for kids, many Gloria’s age. After I listened to the audio of Gloria and then went to rehearsal every day with these kids, I just started thinking about her all the time — how she could be any one of them, and how much I wish she was well enough to share the thrill of it all.

I submitted my bio as choreographer for the program. The last line reads: “The joy of this performance I give to Gloria Strauss.”

— Taryn Darr

While I live in Canada, my connection to the Strausses’ story and spirit was instant. My little sister was diagnosed with cancer in April of 2005 at the age of 12. I was 14. I have met countless inspiring children through my sister’s battle, but there is something extra special about Gloria.

Few families completely believe in a miracle. I never did before “finding” Gloria.

I will never forget Gloria’s selflessness — her praying for the mother of an autistic child when she, medically, needs divine intervention the most.

We must pray, and believe with all our hearts that Gloria can be granted a miracle. But of course we already know that she is a miracle herself.

— Caitlin, Canada

When I first saw your series on Gloria, I didn’t want to read it. Having recently lost a very close uncle to pancreatic cancer, just glancing at it made me ill. I immediately became angry at God, again.

I first started not believing in God when my marriage ended. I was very heavily involved in my church and could not understand how God could let that happen to me, to my uncle, and now this little girl. But something has changed in me from reading about Gloria. I found myself in church last Sunday. The first time in over nine years.

I prayed for Gloria, my uncle’s wife, myself and I found myself asking God to forgive me. Even though I still don’t understand why all of this happens, and I’m not sure where I’m at in my life with religion, this has inspired me to at least try to believe again.

— Judy Turner

I want Kristen and Doug Strauss to understand the difference they have made in my life. The decision they made to share an extremely personal situation has changed me forever.

I am Catholic and have a 2-year-old daughter. My husband and I pray alone and with our baby and believe me, she knows the name Gloria Strauss. I believe I am a good mother but am certain that there is room for improvement. If my daughter is having a meltdown or not listening to what I am saying, I now pause and ask, “What would Kristen and Doug do in this situation?”

It may seem odd to ask a question about people I have never met, but that is the impact they have on me. They are faithful, patient and so full of love. I want to be that kind of parent. I am changing, and I believe it is for the better.

— Kathleen Shaner

I didn’t even know about Gloria until last night at around 8. My husband, who would normally have changed into his “around the house” clothing, was on our bed fully dressed. I asked if he was going somewhere and he said, “Yes, I’m going to church to pray for a sick little girl.”

Our 3-year-old had a fever last night, and I thought he meant her. That is when he told me about Gloria and her battle. I am deeply moved by their faith. Gloria and her family will be in our prayers and I pray that the miracle, whatever that may be, happens for them.

— Anonymous

People are looking for the miracle to occur in Gloria. What if Gloria’s miracle is not so much in her as because of her?

In my own life, I have found encouragement from reading about Gloria. Reading about Gloria is helping me to find healing in my own life. There is a hope now that I didn’t have not too long ago.

Healing is not always a physical thing. The healing of the heart is greater than the healing of the body, for the healing of the heart can lead to the healing of the body. It is not the body that endures, but the spirit.

I believe that Gloria’s miracle will be much greater than her body.

— Irene T.

I am 12 years old. I first found out about Gloria from my cousin, who was one of Doug Strauss’ students at Kennedy High. I just thought she was this one girl who had cancer. Then I read her article and was blown away. I just recently got braces, and my mouth aches a lot of times during the day. Whenever I am about to whine about my sore mouth, I think of Gloria.

I find myself thinking, “Why am I complaining about my sore mouth, when someone like Gloria is suffering from neuroblastoma?”

I have found myself rethinking my actions lately. Gloria is special, partly because she really makes you think about life. She is truly my inspiration.

— Claire

I was with my father in his last weeks of life, and I remember being alone by his side praying for one more chat with him.

I can’t imagine the pain of Kristen and Doug, as they hope for the same from such a precious little flower. I asked God for a trade, to give Gloria the health I enjoy and give me her disease. There are things our finite minds can’t explain, but that little girl’s courage has solidified my faith and trust in Christ. Thank you, Gloria, for helping to reinforce to us that every day is a gift, every breath of life is golden, and that love conquers all.

— Matt Moeller

This is what life is about. Life is not just the good stuff, it is all the stuff — the suffering, the pain, the loss, the heartache.

What is the miracle? They happen every day, in small and profound ways. A miracle is the hard heart that becomes softened, through the story of a little girl who is a stranger, but whom we all pray for.

Last year, my best friend died of cancer at age 47, leaving a husband, adult son and teen daughter behind. As heartbreaking as it was to see her go, I was lucky that I got to see her and get closure. She said to me, “I won’t let you say goodbye, because I will never be gone. Part of me will always live inside you, and that will never go away. So I won’t say goodbye, just so long.” That is the true miracle, that once people are in our hearts, they can never leave.

— Lisa

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